Oil painting on canvas, Diana and Actaeon (after Titian) by Miguel de la Cruz (active c.1630-1660), 1625/45. Diana and her companions bathe at a wellhead in a glade with ruins. Whilst out hunting, Actaeon accidentally happens upon the secret bathing place of Diana, chaste goddess of the moon and of the hunt, whose former prey hang above her head. He strides in from the left, his left arm outstretched. The outraged goddess appears to attempt to cover herself, unsuccessfully. She immediately avenges herself by transforming Actaeon into a stag to be devoured by his own hounds. Actaeon's fate is foretold by the stag's skull on the plinth. The conclusion of the story is shown in Titian's The Death of Actaeon in the National Gallery, London. A copy of similar quality is at Knole (NT) and the original, formerly in the collection of Philip IV of Spain and given by him to Charles I, is now owned jointly by the National Gallery, London and the National Galleries of Scotland (ex- Duke of Sutherland collection). This painting was probably a gift from Charles I to William Murray, 1st Earl of Dysart.
Made for William Murray by Charles I, in 1677 inventory and in 1683 inventory (99) as attributed to Cruz (Michael Cross); thence by descent until acquired in 1948 by HM Government when Sir Lyonel, 4th Bt (1854 – 1952) and Sir Cecil Tollemache, 5th Bt (1886 – 1969) presented Ham House to the National Trust, and entrusted to the care of the Victoria & Albert Museum, until 1990, when returned to the care of the National Trust, and to which ownership was transferred in 2002
Makers and roles
Miguel de la Cruz (Michael Cross) (active c.1630-1660), artist
after Titian (Pieve di Cadore 1488/90 - Venice 1576), artist